Monday 31 December 2018

Fullers grists in 1939

The grists, in terms of malts, weren’t exactly exciting. Other than P, all Fullers beers contained just a single malt. Though, at this point, there were three types of pale malt: English, Californian and Cape.

Even P only contained one coloured malt, black malt. This was pretty unusual for London, where brewers were very faithful to brown malt. Whitbread, for example, including brown malt in their Stouts right up until Chiswell Street closed in 1974. Fullers dropped it in the early 1920s.

The only other grain Fullers used was unmalted flaked maize. Which was the commonest adjunct in UK brewing. A few breweries used maize in the form of grits and some preferred flaked rice, but generally flaked maize was the adjunct of choice.

There was rather more variety in the sugars Fullers employed. Glucose and Intense in the Milds and Burtons; No. 2 invert, glucose and intense in the Pale Ales. While P contained two types of caramel and another coloured sugar called Special Dark.

Other than in P, the sugar content was quite low at under 5% of the grist. 10-15% was more typical. The lack of No. 3 invert in the Milds and burtons is surprising. It was pretty standard in dark Ales by this point.

Fullers grists in 1939 (grains)
Date Beer Style OG pale malt black malt flaked maize
30th Oct X Mild 1032.7 80.46% 14.78%
6th Nov XX Mild 1042.7 80.85% 13.94%
24th Oct AK Pale Ale 1033.4 81.33% 14.79%
17th Oct XK Pale Ale 1039.4 82.64% 14.58%
24th Oct PA Pale Ale 1051.1 81.33% 14.79%
9th Nov P Porter 1038.5 66.93% 8.37% 8.37%
18th Oct BO Strong Ale 1055.5 81.66% 13.87%
8th Nov OBE Strong Ale 1069.6 81.00% 14.44%
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery

Fullers grists in 1939 (sugars)
Date Beer Style OG no. 2 sugar glucose carameline London caramel Sp. Dark Intense
30th Oct X Mild 1032.7 3.28% 1.48%
6th Nov XX Mild 1042.7 3.72% 1.50%
24th Oct AK Pale Ale 1033.4 2.46% 1.23% 0.18%
17th Oct XK Pale Ale 1039.4 1.30% 1.30% 0.19%
24th Oct PA Pale Ale 1051.1 2.46% 1.23% 0.18%
9th Nov P Porter 1038.5 2.79% 2.39% 11.16%
18th Oct BO Strong Ale 1055.5 3.08% 1.39%
8th Nov OBE Strong Ale 1069.6 3.35% 1.21%
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery

Sunday 30 December 2018

Fullers beers in 1939

When war broke out, Fullers had a decent-sized range of beers. Though it was a slightly unusual one for a London brewer. The oddest feature being the lack of a draught Stout, which was pretty bog standard in the capital.

At the core of the range were three Pale Ale, two Milds and two Strong Ales. Then there was P. That obviously stood for Porter, at least originally. But by the late 1930s it was no longer sold as that. Fullers had discontinued draught Porter, but P lived on, marketed as a bottled beer called Nourishing Stout.

A couple of the beers were very marginal, being brewed in tiny batches. AK and OBE were usually brewed no more than 10 barrels at a time. Minute quantities when you consider Fullers brew length was 400-500 barrels. Such small batches were only practical because Fullers parti-gyled.

PA and AK were both well-established products dating back to at least the 1880s. XK had also been around in the late 1880s but was dropped around 1900. It reappeared again just after the end of WW I, in 1919. PA had come through WW I pretty well intact, and between the wars was only 3º weaker than it had been in 1914. The next was wouldn’t be so kind to it.

XK and PA filled the Ordinary and Best Bitter slots, and retailed at 6d and 8d per pint, respectively. Many London brewers had similar beers. For example, Barclay Perkins with their XLK and PA.

Before WW I, Fullers brewed a single Mild, X Ale, at around 1050º. The war left X Ale’s gravity greatly reduced, at a little over 1030º. In the summer of 1919 they introduced a new, stronger Mild called XX. While not as much as X Ale, XX was brewed in quite large quantities.

Fullers two Burton Ales, BO (Burton Old) and OBE (Old Burton Extra) were both parti-gyled with the Milds. BO was a pretty typical draught Burton Ale, with an OG in the mid-1050ºs. OBE was more unusual. Also a draught beer, it had an exceptionally high gravity. The only similar beer I’ve come across is Barclay Perkins KKKK, which was a winter special.

The war years would see a massive reshaping of Fuller’s range.

Fullers beers in 1939
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
30th Oct X Mild 1032.7 1007.5 3.33 77.12% 6.96011 0.95
6th Nov XX Mild 1042.7 1010.5 4.25 75.32% 6.9326 1.22
24th Oct AK Pale Ale 1033.4 1006.6 3.53 80.07% 9.19208 1.25
17th Oct XK Pale Ale 1039.4 1010.0 3.89 74.67% 9.20783 1.45
24th Oct PA Pale Ale 1051.1 1013.0 5.04 74.53% 9.19208 1.91
9th Nov P Porter 1038.5 1013.0 3.37 66.19% 7.62353 1.35
18th Oct BO Strong Ale 1055.5 1015.2 5.32 72.54% 7.0126 1.63
8th Nov OBE Strong Ale 1069.6 1013.3 7.45 80.90% 7.28653 2.00
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery

Saturday 29 December 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Fullers X

When the war kicked off, Fullers standard Mild was a little on the weak side at just 1033º. A more typical OG was 1035-1937º.

Although reasonably dark in colour, there were no coloured malts of any kind in X. The colour came from a type of caramel called tintose. The grist was slightly more complicated than it appears, there being three different types of pale malt, English, Californian and Cape. The latter, I assume, came from South America Africa.

The hops were all English and all from the 1938 season. I’ve guessed all Fuggles, though some, or all, could have been a Goldings type of hop.

The mash was a typical London-style underlet, starting at 147º, where after an hour of mashing it was left to stand for 25 minutes. After the underlet the temperature of the mash was raised to 151º, where it was held for a further two hours.

1939 Fullers X
pale malt 6.00 lb 78.69%
flaked maize 1.25 lb 16.39%
glucose 0.25 lb 3.28%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.64%
Fuggles 90 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1033
FG 1009.5
ABV 3.11
Apparent attenuation 71.21%
IBU 32
SRM 12
Mash at 147º F
After underlet 151º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62.5º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

Friday 28 December 2018

A tip to girls: drink Lager

I'm feeling shit today. Seem to have caught a cold over Christmas. Brilliant. Especially as I have the whole week off work.

So here's some advice that might come in handy on New Year's Eve.
"To a Lovely Little Fool
I SPOTTED her the moment I entered the restaurant. I could hardly have done anything else. For it isn't often you see girl so truly ALIVE and so dewy-fresh in London these days.

Her hair was rich gold and its waves never came from a machine. Maybe she'd powdered her perky little nose, but I swear that the flush on her cheeks and the red of her laughing lips were God’s own gift to someone young and very lovely.

And from her deep blue eyes looked out soul that was Tree and gay and innocent . . too innocent. I realised that when I saw the man at her side, a sallow, flabby, overdressed fellow with a film of talc powder over the short black hairs on the back of his swollen neck.

She threw her head back, laughing at something he’d said, and his bloodshot eyes fed greedily on her white throat. Something made me avert my eyes from this spectacle of Beauty and the Beast.

* * * 
When next I looked at them he was holding her hand, and the waiter was uncorking another bottle of wine, to replace the bottle which had been on the table when I arrived.

He filled their glasses, and as she lifted hers, I noticed that the wine slopped wildly inside it in her unsteady hand. She put it down.

"I don’t think I'll have any more,” I heard her say, for her voice was now high-pitched. He put his arm round her shoulder and whispered something in her ear.

She blushed, wrinkled that perky nose . . . and drank.

Before they left, her unpleasant companion had a couple of brandies. I saw him persuade her have one, and, though she didn't finish it, when she stood up to go, she had to grab at the table to keep herself steady.

I followed them out. His arm was round her waist, her head flopped loosely against his shoulder The doorman got them a taxi, and as the man shoved her in I heard her say. "Ooh, dear! I must be a wee bit tight! ’S lovely!"

The cab drove off. I only hope it was her own home that the gross lout was taking her to.

* * *
I wish could have had a word with that lovely little fool, I'd have told her that it’s not smart or funny or clever or "modern" to drink too much.

And I’d have told her that no man worthy of girl’s respect will allow a girl who’s his guest to do so.

Melodramatic and old-fashioned it may seem, but giving young girls who don’t know when they’ve had enough too much to drink is still the oldest and the most successful trick employed by a certain sort of man.

And without making yourself appear a silly little prude, there are one or two tips worth knowing which will enable you to make him keep his distance.

* * *
Don't mix your drinks. Particularly don't mix Grain and Grape.

That is to say, if you have sherry (grape) to start the evening, don't switch to beer or whisky, both of which are made from grain.

A glass of wine or port after sherry won’t do any great harm. But if vou've started on with gin-and-something, I'd advise you not to put anything different down on top ot it. Gin’s a tricky drink in any case, because its taste isn’t very strong.

A girl who will drink a glass beer is appreciated as being easy on a man's pocket, and if you don't like ordinary bitter beer, try lager, which is lighter and not so sharp.

Don't take more than one drink if you haven’t had anything to eat.

And finally, when you begin to feel a glow, and the knock-kneed oaf you're with begins to look like Tyrone Power, STOP RIGHT THERE.

That glow is the danger signal. It's a grand feeling, but let it remain just that. ED. HERBERT."
Daily Mirror - Monday 12 August 1940, page 8.
Remember kids, it’s not smart or funny or clever or "modern" to drink too much.

Wednesday 26 December 2018

UK-brewed Lager after WW II

The small number of UK breweries producing Lager carried on pretty much where they had left off before the war. As a mostly bottled product, Lager would have suffered during the war when shortages of bottles and crates limited production.

When restrictions such as these were removed, the sales of Lager although still very small, continued to increase. It seems to have reached a tipping point at the end of the 1950s when many regional breweries jumped in with Lagers of their own.

There was steady growth in Lager sales throughout the 1960s, but they really took off in the 1970s. As Lager sales increased, the number of Lagers available tended to decline, as national brands pushed aside the versions from regional breweries.

UK Lager sales 1960 - 1989
Year % Year % Year %
1960 1.0 1970 7.0 1980 30.7
1961 1.0 1971 9.9 1981 32.0
1962 2.0 1972 11.7 1982 33.0
1963 2.0 1973 14.9 1983 35.9
1964 2.0 1974 16.4 1984 38.9
1965 2.0 1975 19.7 1985 40.9
1966 2.0 1976 23.5 1986 43.4
1967 3.0 1977 24.5 1987 46.6
1968 4.0 1978 26.9 1988 48.8
1969 6.0 1979 29.1 1989 50.3
“The Brewers' Society Statistical Handbook 1990” page 17

The type of Lagers being brewed immediately after war’s end hadn’t all quite become the style that marched to domination. There were still some examples with above-average gravities, such as Graham’s Golden Lager (rebranded as Skol later in the 1950s) and Black Label. By the 1960s, few UK-brewed Lagers would have an OG much over 1030º.

The beers in the table below, with the exception of Black Label and the Steel Coulson beer, were ones which had been around before WW II. Though beers like Red Tower and Barclay Perkins, which had been big brands before the war, weren’t to last very long. The Barclay Perkins Lager brewery finished its days brewing Harp for Courage, Barclay’s London Lager having been dropped.

UK-brewed Lager after WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1947 Barclay Perkins Draught Lager 26 1033 1006.4 3.46 80.61% 8
1950 Barclay Perkins Lager 30 1036.1 1008 3.65 77.84% 11
1950 Barclay Perkins Lager 31 1036.1 1008 3.65 77.84% 11
1950 Red Tower Lager 30 1035.8 1008.2 3.58 77.09% 13
1947 Unknown Pilsner 1035 1010 3.24 71.43%
1950 Alloa Brewery Light Lager 1043.4 1009.1 4.46 79.03% 7
1950 Alloa Brewery Graham's Golden Lager 30 1040.6 1010.6 3.89 73.89% 9
1952 Carlings (Brewed in Sheffield) Black Label 32 1042.3 1009.9 4.21 76.60% 10
1954 Steel Coulson Lager Beer 30 1032 1004.3 3.60 86.56% 11
1955 Tennent Lager 30 1036.1 1007.7 3.69 78.67% 9
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Tetley XXX

A special strong recipe as a treat for Boxing Day. I hope you enjoy it.

Going into WW II, Tetley’s range of beers was rather odd. Not at all the usual mix of styles. One of the oddities was a genuinely Strong Ale, XXX.

In effect, it was a super-strong Mild, being parti-gyled with X2. I’ve no real idea how long it had been around as a product, as this is the only example of it that I have, unfortunately. Looking in the Whitbread Gravity Book, there’s a 1928 entry for a beer called Tetley Imperial Ale with an OG of 1089º. I’m pretty sure that must be XXX.

The recipe, though uncomplicated, does pose some problems. On account of the sugar, most of which was something called Albion “A”. I’ve substituted No. 2 invert sugar. The base malt, as for Tetley’s other beers, was an even split of English and Californian.

The hopping rate is slightly higher than for the weaker Milds at 5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, rather than 4.5 lbs. The hops themselves, however, were the same, Kent from the 1937 and 1938 crop and Worcester from 1937. All the 1937 hops had been kept in a cold store.

1939 Tetley XXX
pale malt 16.25 lb 82.80%
No. 2 invert 3.25 lb 16.56%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.125 lb 0.64%
Fuggles 120 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1091
FG 1030
ABV 8.07
Apparent attenuation 67.03%
IBU 33
SRM 24
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Drinkalongathon 2018 - Bowmore and almost duck


The duck is near done. Tine to celebrate with some more Bowmore.

A word of explanation. I would be drinking Lagavullin. But it's too expensive.

Cooking, Busy. Get your string ready, though. You'll be needing it soon.

Drinkalongathon 2018 - St. Bernardus Abt and more goat cheesy things


Bit off the pace with drinking this year. You'll have to excuse me. Old age not just catching me up, but running past and flicking a V as it disappears around the corner.

One more goat cheesy thing won't do me any harm. The duck is bathing in its own fat. About half done, I reckon. Though the oven has a been bit scorchio.

Mmm. The cheesiness of the cheesy thing winks suggestively from the corner at my glass of St. Bernardus. Trying to seduce a monk? You saucy thing.

Drinkalongathon 2018 - string update (with a side of mince pies)

Is your string ready for action? If not, now's the time to whip it out. And if your eggs aren't boiled yet, put the water on NOW.

Did I mention blancmange powder in the list of essentials for today? No?

- 1 packet pink blancmange powder

There. It's on the list now.

Dolores made mince pies. Without minced meat. I suggest it every year, for the sake of authenticity. Easy for me to propose it, as I never eat them myself.

Drinkalongathon 2018 - goat cheese thingy and that dead expensive US wine I bought Dolores


$37 it cost. It was a mistake - I thought I was grabbing a $17 one. Which would still have been expensive for Dolores. But not inexcusably so.

"That's $10 worth in your glasses." Dolores tells the boys.

"Can you taste all those dollars, kids?"

"Shut up, stupid dad."

"Happy Christmas to you, too, Lexie."

The goatiness of the cheese smiles cheekily at the deep dollariness of the wine. Great pairing.

Drinkalongathon 2018 - Bowmore, Top of the Pops and a Christmas Stout recipe


A Stout brewed on the last Christmas day before WW I! Which fits is perfectly with the Christmas Top of the Pops, which is another remnant to a long-disappeared world.

The Bowmore would make a perfect accompaniment to the Younger's Double Stout. They are both Scottish after all. And the rough smokiness of the whisky would plane the silky smoothness of the Stout. Or perhaps compensate for it pathetic 5.7% ABV.

Andrew has appeared. Not that you'd know it from the conversation. He's plugged into his brain-sucker. No more than the occasional grunt is to be expected.

Starter is on its way. Once that's gone I can get the duck in the oven.

25th December 1913 William Younger DBS
pale malt 6.00 lb 42.86%
black malt 0.75 lb 5.36%
chocolate malt 0.75 lb 5.36%
grits 4.75 lb 33.93%
caramel 0.50 lb 3.57%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.25 lb 8.93%
Cluster 90 min 2.00 oz
Cluster 60 min 2.00 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1065
FG 1022
ABV 5.69
Apparent attenuation 66.15%
IBU 92
SRM 47
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 135 minutes
pitching temp 59.5º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

I hadn't forgotten that it's Wednesday.

Drinkalongathon 2018 - Bowmore and some animal shit


Not sure why Dolores has an animal programme on. She hates them. That's better. Some depressing news report.

A bit slow with the food this year. Haven't even had a starter yet. All the fault of that lazy git Andrew, of whom there's still no sight. As the duck isn't even in the oven yet, we might not get our dinner until midnight.

The sharp smokiness of the Bowmore compliments the general air of diappointment hanging over the house.

Drinkalongathon 2018 - bacon sandwich and fino sherry


I hope you' got everything you'll need for today at hand. Especially the string, that's absolutely vital.

I'm starting the day with a traditional Christmas breakfast of bacon and sherry. Yum. The slaty pigginess of the bacon is overlaid delightfully by the dry sharpness of the sherry. And there's something with Gregg Wallace on the telly.

A good start to the day. 

Monday 24 December 2018

Bottled Foreign Lager after WW II

What could be more Christmasy than imported Lager just after WW II? Just about anything, I suppose. But here goes, anyway.

In 1947, supplies of foreign Lager reappeared, initially principally from Denmark and Holland.  Those from Germany would take longer to arrive, for the simple reason that in the parts of West Germany occupied by the British and Americans commercially brewing wasn’t allowed for several years.

One thing is very obvious when looking at the Lagers imported after WW II: many foreign breweries were making beers specifically for the UK market. How do we know that? Because of the low gravity. No continental brewery, other than in Czechoslovakia, brewed Lagers under 1040º.

You can see here how the post-war style of Lager is starting to coalesce: a pale beer with a gravity in the low-1030ºs. This is the type of beer that became the nation’s favourite in the 1980s. Though by the 1970s, most Lager, even things like Carlsberg and Heineken, were being brewed locally.

More surprising are the German Bocks, which must have been hideously expensive, being both very strong and imported. There can’t have been a huge market in the UK for such beers.

The two Pilsner Urquell beers are clearly the 12º and the 10º. Quite odd to see the latter being exported, though I suppose it fitted in better with UK strength expectations.

A lot of Lager was still being sold in bottled form immediately after the war. But as the 1950s progressed, draught Lager would become increasingly more common. By the early 1960s, draught Lager was the norm rather than the exception.

Bottled Foreign Lager after WW II
Year Brewer country Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1951 Artois Belgium Stella Lager Lager 1052.4 1011.1 5.38 78.82% 10.5
1950 Ekla (Brussels) Belgium Lager Lager 1037.5 1009.6 3.62 74.40% 10
1950 Lamot Belgium Lux Lager Lager 1048.9 1009 5.20 81.60% 7
1950 Lamot Belgium Lager Lager 1037.4 1010.2 3.53 72.73% 6
1950 Pilsner Urquell Czechoslovakia Lager Lager 1049 1013.5 4.61 72.45% 10.5
1950 Pilsner Urquell Czechoslovakia Lager Lager 1038.9 1010.3 3.71 73.52% 11
1947 Carlsberg Denmark Pilsner Lager 1035.6 1008.5 3.52 76.12% 13.5
1950 Carlsberg Denmark Lager Lager 1031.8 1010.9 2.70 65.72% 13
1947 Tuborg Denmark Pilsner Lager 1036.6 1009.1 3.57 75.14% 11.5
1950 Tuborg Denmark Lager Lager 1032.9 1006.1 3.48 81.46% 11.5
1952 Holsten Germany Bock (Light) Bock 1067.8 1020.4 6.16 69.91% 28
1952 Holsten Germany Bock (Dark) Bock 1045.2 1010.5 4.51 76.77% 59
1950 Lowenbrau Germany Atomator Bock 1076.6 1025.7 6.60 66.45% 85
1950 Lowenbrau Germany Pale Bock Beer Bock 1067.9 1013.9 7.06 79.53% 7.5
1950 Spatenbrau Germany Doppel Spaten Bock 1076.7 1029.6 6.09 61.41% 80
1950 Tucher Germany Tucher Pils Lager Lager 1055.1 1014.4 5.29 73.87% 15
1950 Amstel Holland Lager Lager 1033.6 1008.1 3.31 75.89% 15.5
1950 Breda Holland Lager (light) Lager 1036.9 1007.8 3.78 78.86% 13.5
1947 Z.H.B. Holland Lager Lager 1032.4 1008.2 3.14 71.91% 11.5
1950 Z.H.B. Holland Lager Lager 1033.7 1008.4 3.28 75.07% 12
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.